Tag Archive for North Hollywood

Morning Links: A profile in political cowardice on Lankershim Blvd, and biking while your spouse shops

Call it a profile without courage.

The Daily News looks at CD2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s last-minute decision to pull the plug on the long-discussed Lankershim Blvd bike lanes in North Hollywood, as he hides under the political fig leaf of claiming more outreach needed to be done.

Because evidently, five years worth of Lankershim meetings, workshops and pop-up bike lanes just isn’t enough. Maybe what he really wants is to keep talking until he’s termed out in 2024, so it can be someone else’s problem.

Meanwhile, CiclaValley questions Krekorian’s leadership on the issue, and sounds pretty damned pissed off about it. And justifiably so.

Krekorian’s rejection of the project may be at least partially related to the defeat of bike advocate Joe Bray-Ali in last month’s CD1 council race, which may have sent a mistaken signal that LA’s politicians have nothing to fear from bike riders.

That’s the wrong lesson to take away from that election, however.

Bray-Ali appeared to be on the verge of an upset victory over incumbent Gil Cedillo when he lost many of his supporters as his comments on a racist website came to light.

It should be seen instead as a sign of what the bicycling community can do when they’re truly motivated, when a sitting councilmember was forced to fight dirty just to hold onto his seat in a city where incumbent members of the city council virtually never lose.

And that’s something Krekorian may want to remember as 2020 approaches.

Krekorian cited fears of lost business along the Lankershim corridor, even though numerous studies have shown that bike lanes are good for business, and creating a more walkable, bikeable corridor could more than make up for the loss of any parking spaces. Which LADOT must have undoubtedly pointed out in discussing the project with him.

And fears of unending traffic jams are usually unfounded, as well, as road diets have been shown to actually improve traffic flow in some cases.

The simple fact is that Krekorian’s decision to keep Lankershim solely dependent on dangerous and unhealthy automotive traffic is far more likely to hinder the success of the district than to benefit it, or the people and businesses in it, in any way.

What it really comes down to is what former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan discussed in her book Street Fight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution.

…An important observation that I share from my years as commissioner is that when you push the status quo, the status quo pushes back — hard. Six years after we rolled the first barrels into place, closing Broadway to cars, the plazas at Times Square became the new status quo…

The Times Square saga is a reminder that in New York and other cities, changing the streets is a blood sport at all levels. Projects that alter streetscapes upset people who naturally cling to stability, even if that stability is unsafe or inefficient. The flip side is that once change is in place, it becomes the new norm and frames expectations of citizens.

The most important lesson is that safer streets work, and that they can be executed quickly and cheaply… Sustainable streets make sense for safety, traffic, and long-term planning, and they make sense for the economy.

Maybe we should buy him the book.

Or maybe we should all send him copies of Profiles in Courage and Do the Right Thing, because he seems to have missed the point of both.

The real problem, with Krekorian and the rest of LA’s city government, is that they live in constant fear of angering the electorate in their districts — never mind that they probably hold some of the most secure council seats in the country. And so they’re afraid to do anything that might upset anyone, which makes doing nothing seem to be the safer choice.

Which is why the city’s streets are crumbling underneath us, and why they will likely remain dangerous long after our current leaders are gone.

There are exceptions, of course. Mike Bonin in CD11, CD14’s Jose Huizar, and Joe Buscaino in CD15, in particular, have shown genuine leadership and courage in transforming the streets of their districts.

But let’s be honest.

However he chooses to frame it, Krekorian’s decision to pull the plug on Lankershim was less an example of leadership than plain, old fashioned cover-your-ass cowardice.

And the people of Los Angeles deserve better.

If you’re as angry about this as I am, you can let Paul Krekorian know how you feel at an ice cream social today at noon in North Hollywood.

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Mike Wilkinson forwards this photo captured by his wife Argelia in a Walmart parking lot yesterday.

Photo by Argelia Wilkinson

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Another young bike racer has been killed on a training ride, as promising junior time trial specialist Joe Guy died when he was struck by a van in the UK.

A European website suggests Giro winner Tom Dumoulin’s bowels may have saved the 100th edition of the race from an epic flop.

The 2019 edition of the Tour de France will honor the legendary Eddy Merckx in the five-time winner’s homeland by departing from Brussels.

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Local

Unlike NoHo, road diets and bike lanes will be coming to a number of Playa del Rey streets in an attempt to slow traffic, improve safety and reduce cut-through driving. Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the area, gets it right, pointing out the need for improvements while overcoming the usual kneejerk NIMBY objections by suggesting that the changes aren’t necessarily permanent.

Barrio.LA takes a field trip to Atwater Village in advance of the Glendale – Atwater Village CicLAvia on the 11th.

 

State

The Orange County Register says the county is the mecca of the ebike craze.

The New York Times looks at Berkeley-based Monkeylectric and nearby Revolights wheel lights, noting the former is nearly required at Burning Man.

Sad news from Yuba County, where a 50 year-old Marysville woman was killed from behind as she rode her bike without lights at 1 am. Seriously, if you’re going to ride at night, put some damn lights on your bike. And carry a spare set with you during the day in case you get caught out after dark.

 

National

Streetsblog says blaming dangerous streets on people wearing black, as the Seattle Times did on Sunday, wins the prize for anti-pedestrian — and anti-bike — idiocy.

Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is training to ride the 2,800-mile Tour Divide.

The father of a killer hit-and-run driver brought gasps to a Colorado courtroom when he blamed the victim for simply riding his bicycle on the street — even though his daughter had a BAC nearly twice the legal limit three hours after the crash, as well as trace amounts of cocaine and THC.

A Tennessee woman who took up ebike riding in her 40s says ride big in every way. Thanks to Karen Karabell for the link.

This is who we share the roads with. After tearing up a ball field by cutting doughnuts on the grass, a Connecticut pickup driver apparently targeted a bike rider, forcing him to dive off his bicycle to avoid getting hit.

Syracuse NY offers a $2.25 million settlement to a bike rider injured when he was struck by an off-duty police officer driving a city police car; the officer played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, saying he was blinded by glare on his windshield.

It took the NYPD just four days to piece together security camera footage to catch the hit-and-run driver who killed a bicyclist, even though it took them four months to make an arrest in the case.

 

International

The BBC looks at how the privately funded ciclovías in Santiago, Chile are transforming the streets.

A Canadian paper says your epic fundraising bike journey across the Great White North probably won’t actually make any money, and isn’t really a great idea.

In a change from just two years ago, all three major British political parties support bicycling in their manifestos, the equivalent of American political platforms; Brit cycling great Chis Boardman says that represents progress.

A London bike project fixes old bikes to give to refugees, providing around 90 bikes a month to people in need.

An Irish judge rules an ebike rider was highly negligent in riding without lights after dark, denying him any damages from the driver who hit him.

The Telegraph asks if Italy’s Alta Badia is the world’s greatest cycling destination. Actually, the best cycling destination is wherever you happen to be going today.

A new Spanish study shows the amount of bikeways boosts the number of bike riders, while improved safety depends on connecting them into an actual network.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist was lucky to survive when a rope attached to a truck got caught in his spokes, dragging him for 70 feet.

 

Finally…

This is what it looks like when a stray dog steals a GoPro and accidently films a Russian bike ride, along with the inside of its mouth. When you’re named after a bird, you can probably expect to be attacked by one.

And if you miss your brother, just dig him up and take him for a bike ride.

Literally.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in North Hollywood Monday evening showing a kindness to a stranger

Sad news tonight, as yet another bike rider has been killed in LA County.

Unfortunately, very little information is available at this time.

According to the LA Daily News, a bike rider was killed in a collision at 12500 Strathern Street, at the intersection with Whitsett Ave. KCBS-2 places the time of the wreck at 6:31 pm.

The victim died at the scene.

There’s no word on the identity, age or sex of the victim or the driver, or on how or why the crash occurred.

A street view shows both Strathern and Whitsett are four-lane streets with left turn lanes, controlled by a traffic signal; there are parks on both sides of Strathern on the west side of the intersection.

This is the sixth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year; all but one of which have occurred in Los Angeles County. It’s also the second fatal crash involving a bike rider in the City of LA since the first of the year.

Update: Now that a few details are in, the story seems even sadder. 

According to a source with the LAPD, the victim was riding his bicycle southbound on Strathern when he saw a basketball roll into the street from the nearby park. So he walked his bike to the middle of the street, laid it down to toss the ball to someone on the sidewalk, and was struck by a van. 

He died at the scene. 

His death will go down in the official stats as a pedestrian, rather than a bicyclist, since he was not on his bike at the time of the crash. But he was one of us, doing what so many of us have done so many times in an attempt to show a little kindness and courtesy to a stranger.

The driver was not suspected of being under the influence; no word on whether he or she will be cited for the crash. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 54-year old Stanley Martin Digerose.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his or her loved ones. 

Update: NoHo bike rider killed after falling in front of car last week

Sadly, some crashes never make the news.

That was the case in North Hollywood last week, when a bike rider was killed after falling in front of a car that had changed lanes to go around him.

According to an officer with the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, the 50-year old victim was riding south on Coldwater Canyon Ave near Saticoy Street last Tuesday, riding with one hand while holding a cup of coffee in the other. When he moved left to go around a parked car, he clipped the car’s mirror and fell into the left lane, where he was hit by the car.

Tragically, the driver had seen him, and had already moved left to give him a safe passing distance.

No word yet on the victim’s identification, what time the crash occurred or whether he died at the scene.

This should be a reminder to stay out of the door zone, and hold onto your handlebars as if your life depends on it. Because sometimes, it does.

This is the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County. It’s also the first in the city of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 52-year old Efrain Molina; the crash occurred at 5:55 am on Coldwater between Elwood and Saticoy.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Efrain Molina and his loved ones. 

E-bike rider killed in North Hollywood dooring; 10th LA bicycling fatality

Dooring is one of the most common kinds of bicycling collisions, but it is rarely fatal.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, as the Daily News reports that an e-bike rider died yesterday as a result of being doored in North Hollywood.

According to the paper, the cyclist, identified only as an man apparently in his 50s, crashed into a car door on westbound Vanowen approaching Longridge Ave around 10 am Tuesday. A passenger in the parked car opened a driver’s side door into the path of the rider, who fell after crashing into it; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The passenger remained at the scene and tried to help the victim.

It’s important to note that CVC 22517 requires any person opening a car door to wait until it is safe to do so without inferring with moving traffic. As a result, the person opening the door is almost always at fault in a dooring, whether it’s the driver of a passenger.

This is the 76th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, which compares with the same number this time last year. It’s also the 29th cycling death in LA County since the first of the year, and the 10th in the City of Los Angeles.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Update: Cyclist killed in North Hollywood collision

Word is just coming in from multiple sources that a cyclist was killed in North Hollywood this morning.

According to virtually identical reports from LAist, KABC-7 and North Hollywood – Toluca Lake Patch, the rider was headed west on Oxnard Street at Radford Avenue around 6 am when he was struck by a vehicle turning right onto Oxnard from southbound Radford.

The victim has only been identified as a man in his 60s, pending notification of next of kin. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on whether he was using lights and reflectors at that early morning hour, or which party had the right-of-way; there is a traffic signal at that intersection.

The driver remained at the scene, and reportedly is cooperating with investigators. And how sad is it that something like that even needs to be mentioned.

This is the 64th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, which equals the annual average for the last seven years. And it’s the 20th bike death in Los Angeles County, as well as the fifth in the City of L.A., which equals last year’s total.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

Update: A source with the LAPD confirms that the driver of a truck stopped at the light before making a right turn onto Oxnard. He didn’t see the cyclist crossing in front of him as he made his turn. 

The victim’s bike did have a light. However, collisions like this are why it is so important to make eye contact with any driver that poses a potential risk while you ride. If you can’t see the driver’s eyes, you have to assume he can’t see you and doesn’t know you’re there.

The officer says the rider was found with earbuds, which he may or may not have been using at the time of the collision; you can use an earbud in one ear when you ride, but it’s illegal to wear earbuds or headphones in both ears.

Update: The victim has been identified as Jose Heredia, age 64,

Yet another bike rider murdered, this time in North Hollywood

Maybe they didn’t get the memo.

As most cyclists know, the way to get away with killing a bike rider in this country is to run him down with your car, then claim you just didn’t see him.

Yet SoCal criminals insist on using a gun, instead.

For the 5th time in the last 6 months, a bike rider has been shot and killed, this time on the 6800 block of Laurel Canyon Blvd in North Hollywood. The Times reports that the victim has not been identified yet.

According to KABC-7, the shooting occurred around 1:40 this morning; police arrived to find a man in his early 20s lying in the street next to his bike, dead from a single gunshot wound to the torso.

At about the same time, a nearby sheriff’s deputy chased a white ’95 Chevrolet Astro Van after seeing five or six people take off in it, but lost it in a solo pursuit. It was later discovered abandoned several miles away at the intersection of Sherman Way and Tyrone Ave; KABC reports police have identified the van’s owner, and that it has not been reported stolen.

Not surprisingly, the killing is suspected to be gang-related.

Bicyclist critically injured in North Hollywood hit-and-run

According to KNBC Channel 4, a 40-year old bicyclist was hit and nearly killed Wednesday evening at the intersection of Laurel Canyon Blvd and Archwood street.

A reportedly outraged Det. Bill Bustos contacted the station asking for the public’s help in identifying the driver of a black SUV — possibly a Nissan Pathfinder — who fled the scene after knowingly striking the rider. Anyone who has any information should call Det. Bustos at 818/644-8010.

Update: KABC Channel 7 has a more detailed report online, including video of the crime scene — and yes, it is a crime to leave the scene of a collision, regardless of how it happens or who is at fault.

The incident occurred just after 5 pm as the cyclist attempted to cross Laurel Canyon. Reading between the lines, he may have been in the crosswalk when he was struck. The station reports that drivers in the right lane were stopped, while the vehicle in the left lane continued through the intersection and struck the cyclist at 35 mph, knocking him eight feet into the air.

KABC describes the vehicle as a dark green Jeep Cherokee driven by a Hispanic male with a female passenger; the car should have damage on the front driver’s side.

Reports are unclear on whether the police have identified the victim, or if they are withholding his ID until next-of-kin can be contacted.

However, this is a good time to remind cyclists to always carry ID with you when you ride, including at least one emergency contact number. It’s also a good idea to carry it in more than one place — I keep mine in my bike bag, as well as another folded inside a plastic pouch in my jersey pocket. And this would make a perfect holiday gift for any cyclist on your list.

And for all you drivers out there, when traffic stops ahead or next to you, there may be a reason for it. Never, ever, ever drive past a line of stopped cars until you can see why they stopped.

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